Recently snagged a rebate form when you bought a new phone? Got a rebate for that new printer? Rebates are popping up everywhere these days. Sadly, I suspect that most people don’t bother to fill out their rebates. I know because I used to be one of those people. I’d stick a rebate in my bill box then miss the deadline and find the form months after it expired.
When I was scrimping and saving to pay off my student loans, I came across a few coupon websites that mentioned rebates. To be honest, I never knew there were so many rebates available. The rebates I’ve come to like best are beer rebates. Because I live in a No Beer Purchase Required State (NBPR)* I don’t even have to purchase any beer to submit the rebate. Some of my favorite beer rebates have been: “buy $100 of groceries and get $20 back” and “buy $20 of meat and get $15 back”.
Using beer rebates helps me buy a lot of groceries for very little out of pocket cost. Yes, you typically have to wait 6-8 weeks to get your check in the mail, but a lot of the companies have a much quicker turnaround. Plus once you have a few going you can cash the checks, buy more groceries with the money and keep, “rolling” your rebates (cashing them in and spending that cash to buy more groceries that qualify for rebates) to keep out of pocket spending low.
Typically these forms are found at the grocery store on beer displays. I rarely find them in my area, so I usually trade for them on the coupon forums (you can also purchase them on e-bay just search “NBPR” or “NBPN”). Even if you’re in a state that requires a beer purchase you might want to check out what rebates are available. I know several people who don’t drink beer, but still find the rebates to be profitable. They just dump the beer, or give it to friends/family who do drink.
Submitting the rebates is really a lot less work then most people would think. I collect my receipts and organize them by month. Whenever I find a rebate, I look through the receipts to find one that fulfills the rebate requirements. I circle the qualifying items I purchased, fill out the form and stick it in a stamped addressed envelope. Quick, easy, and fun (well knowing I’ll get money back is fun). $10-$20 for less than 5 minutes of my time, is worth it to me.
I’ve found beer rebates to be a really good way to save money, supplement my grocery budget, and buy better quality foods (usually organic meats) that I normally might not have normally splurged on. Last year I tracked my beer rebates and I got back over $350 from the beer companies. It might not seem like a lot, but I saved that money buying food that I’d have to buy anyway.
Do you fill out rebate forms? Have you ever done beer rebates? What have been your experience?
*NBPR States are: AL, AR, CT, HI, KY, ME, MO, NC, NJ, NY, PA, UT and WV